Last night, the London Health Sciences Foundation had their annual President’s Dinner, which brings the amazing staff, volunteers, and donors together for a night to discuss the past, present, and future of the Foundation and the London Health Sciences Centre. It was an honour to be invited. Last year, I joined the mental health campaign cabinet for the London Health Sciences Foundation. I came in at the tail-end of a 5-year public-facing campaign to share the stories of the patients at the hospital, raise awareness for all faculties of the hospital including cancer, orthopedic and cardiac care, and provide support in the fundraising efforts.

During the event, the final total raised was unveiled with a beautiful ice sculpture. Over the campaign, the London Health Sciences Foundation raised over $215 million dollars. That is incredible.

On top of that, to see and meet some of the people in the room who are working so hard to bring better health care to London and the surrounding area was truly inspiring. The new President and CEO of the London Health Sciences Centre is Paul Woods. He shared his story and an extraordinary vision of health care that is timely and important.

I was invited to join the cabinet from a friend and someone I admire very much, Johnny Fansher. The overwhelming acceptance and support of everyone in the organization made this one of the best decisions of my life. Although the public facing campaign and cabinet is done, I continue to work and support the London Health Sciences Foundation. This year, I committed $50,000 in-kind to the Foundation over the next 5 years. I was recognized as a donor of distinction. It is one of the most humbling things that I can now say is part of my life and something I will continue to remember and cherish. I want to say a special thank you to Alison Hall, who has given me more support, trust, and opportunity then I could have imagined.

Five years ago, I was in the hospital in the psych ward. Firsthand, I saw the shortcomings of the system. But, I also saw the amazing care and passion of the doctors and nurses working in it. There is no doubt in my mind that the drive is there to make a better system. The needs for mental health treatment, and even more than that, prevention, is necessary as mental illness increases dramatically in our society. My experience and focus is mental health, but this is true across all the care the hospital provides. An important part of this is getting the London Health Sciences Foundation and London Health Sciences Centre the support and resources they need.

I am working with the team there to play my part in this. My hope is that someone in crisis doesn’t have to experience those shortcomings in the same way I did. I also hope that with the proper research and innovation, we can learn to treat people better and avoid crisis as much as we possibly can.

I don’t post all that much, but I did want to share this important part and moment in my life. To have progressed from being a struggling patient in the hospital that almost didn’t make it to a donor of distinction is something I will never forget. I will continue to learn, progress, and do my best to support these efforts any way I can. Thank you to the London Health Sciences Foundation for allowing me to be a part of that journey.

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